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Case Study: Loyalty Program  Title:


Case Study: Intelligent Software-Agents

A Software-Agent is defined as a piece of software that is acting on behalf of its user. Its objective is to take over tasks and to finish them without a direct interaction or permanent supervision by the user. Originally developed for telecommunication services, e.g., collecting information for the user, today, “Intelligent” Software-Agents (ISA) are designed to complete tasks on behalf of the user.

Agents for that purpose contain a profile of their users, including personal data. The data in this profile are the basis for the actions the agent performs: searching for information, matching the information with the profile and performing transactions on the behalf of the user. 

Two examples may illustrate the application scenarios of Intelligent Software Agents: 

For Instance, imagine an ISA, participating on the user’s behalf in an auction system, say E-Bay. Another example is a travel agent service that is implemented by an Intelligent Software Agent. There, the ISA not only researches for the best travel opportunities (probably most convenient and economic), but also do the binding reservations and bookings.

Thus and at first glance, ISA appear to hold out great promise for automating routine duties and even conducting high level transactions. However, looking beyond the functional requirements, it becomes clear that ISA could present a significant threat to privacy relating to the privacy of personal information in their possession and under their control. Accordingly, it is highly desirable that their development and use reflect European privacy standards (i.e. EU Directive on Privacy and Electronic Commerce 2002/58/EC) in order to protect the personal information of their users.


Figure 3.6 Travel agents need much sensitive financial and personal information to process their task.


The whole raison-d´être of the ISAs is to act on the user´s behalf and function as the user´s trusted personal servant, serving one’s needs and managing one’s day-to-day activities.

Thus, their powers are constrained by a number of factors: the degree of software complexity (the rules they can fulfill), the number of services with which they can interact, and, most importantly, the amount of personal information that they possess about the user.

Because agents could be requested to perform any number of tasks ranging from downloading the daily newspaper to purchasing concert tickets for a favorite singer, the agent is required to know many of information about the user.

In order to function properly, an ISA must also have the following characteristics:

  1. Mobility to act within open communications networks

  2. Deliberative behavior or an ability to take an action based on a set of criteria

  3. The ability to act autonomously, co-operatively, and to learn.


Case Study: Loyalty Program  fidis_wp14_d14.2-study_on_privacy_in_business_processes_by_identity_management-v09_02.sxw  Conclusion
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